You may have a veritable pharmacy of powerful natural medicines already stocked in your kitchen cabinet. Foods, spices, plants and other items commonly found around the house can have all sorts of surprising uses, from relieving sinus pressure to clearing up ear infections. As always, consult your doctor before trying any home remedies in case they could interfere with other medications.
Raw Honey and Cinnamon for Colds
Feeling a little under-the-weather? As soon as the signs of a cold come on, reach for a jar of raw honey and your cinnamon shaker. Both ingredients have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Mix a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon into a teaspoon of raw honey and either take it straight, or add it to your coffee or tea.
Activated Charcoal for Food Poisoning
Activated charcoal is specially prepared charcoal (be sure to only use the kind made for human consumption) that has the amazing power to absorb all kinds of toxins and nasty substances, from heavy metals to bacteria that can make you sick. If you eat something that didn’t agree with you and you’re afraid of a bout of food poisoning, pop a few capsules of this inky black powder and you may be able to drastically decrease the length and severity of your illness. It can also be added to toothpaste to whiten teeth, or made into a super-absorbent face mask for oily skin.
Turmeric for Pain Relief
Turmeric root is a natural painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties, making it a natural way to treat arthritis, muscle soreness, sprains and other pain issues. Add it to your cooking (it’s great in soups and bean dishes!) or try this pain relieving juice recipe from So Let’s Hang Out.
Coconut Oil for Eczema
Coconut oil is really kind of a magical substance: it’s antibacterial and antifungal, it’s ultra-moisturizing and it tastes and smells amazing. Many people use it as a basis for lip balms, face and body scrubs or to remove eye makeup, but did you know that it can be used as a natural treatment for eczema, too? Add it to your diet for the lauric acid benefit, which helps the body fight viruses, bacteria and fungus, and apply it externally for soothing, healing relief.
Garlic for Cold, Flu & Earaches
Garlic doesn’t just have a potent flavor and smell – it’s a potent healer, too, with immune-boosting, virus- and fungus-killing properties. Specially prepared garlic drops can be used to tackle ear infections and warts. You can also make yourself some super-strong garlic clove soup to fight colds and flu.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Sinus Infections
The arrival of spring brings butterflies, birdsong, bees, flower buds and, unfortunately, allergies. Hit back against sinus pain and pressure with a tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in water before and after meals to help clear sinuses and relieve pressure in your head.
Blackstrap Molasses for Fatigue
A byproduct of the sugar refining industry, blackstrap molasses is a natural substance packed with minerals like magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron and vitamin B6. The latter two can be powerful remedies for fatigue, whether you’re borderline anemic or just feeling drained after an intense workout. Take a tablespoon of it whenever you’re feeling low on energy, either straight or in a cup of warm tea or milk.
Mustard for a Cough
It may sound strange, but applying a paste of mustard powder, warm water and salve or petroleum jelly to your throat and chest can work wonders for coughs and bronchitis. It increases blood flow to soothe coughs and promote healing. Get the instructions at Lilith’s Apothecary (image via Jessica Spengler.)
Cloves for Toothache
Cloves contain a natural anesthetic called eugenol that can help numb the pain of toothaches. Dentists use a form of eugenol to this day, but you can still get the benefits the old-fashioned way directly from the source, whether you use ground cloves, whole cloves or clove oil. Learn more at Everyday Roots.
Comfrey for Skin Healing
Comfrey is a plant that encourages the reproduction of cells, making it an ideal ingredient in skin-healing salves. Frugally Sustainable has a recipe for a balm that also includes olive oil, marshmallow root, witch hazel and raw honey for burns, rashes, sunburns, minor wounds and chapped skin.
Ginger for Upset Stomachs
Many people reach for ginger ale when they’re feeling queasy, but most brands of store-bought ginger soda don’t even contain real ginger. This spicy root really does help with stomach pain, however. Use fresh ginger for best results. Just slice the root into thin medallions, simmer them in water for about twenty minutes, let the mixture cool and sip slowly. (Image via Eliot Phillips.)
Olive Leaf for Infections
Olive leaf is one of the few natural remedies that have been proven by numerous scientific studies to increase immune response and have an antimicrobial effect against a range of bacteria, making it an ally against infections. Many people take olive leaf – the leaf from the olive tree, rather than the olive itself – in capsule or tincture form for colds, flu, food poisoning, gastrointestinal conditions and many other health concerns.